Greener Choices

Our planet is warming, we are experiencing more extremes of weather, here in Dorset we have recently suffered from flooding and landslides.  The latest report from the International Panel on Climate Change confirms that these changes to our weather and climate are linked to human activity.

We are using too many of the earth’s resources, the One Planet Living eco footprint tool estimates that the average European lives as though they had three planets not one.  If we carry on like this we will continue to see changes to weather and climate and there will be less and less for future generations.

So what can you do?

We can think about your lifestyle and see how you can use less.  There are many tools such as carbon footprint calculators that can help you do this, but some top actions you can take are shown below:

1. Use less energy at home

Most homes in the UK are heated by oil or gas, these are fossil fuels that have been laid down under the earth over millions of years.  The World Health Organisation recommends that we live at a minimum temperature of 18°C, but we can still conserve these fuels.  When you switch on a light or appliance you are drawing electricity from the national grid.  This electricity is generated from a range of sources: around 66% fossil fuels, 21% nuclear and 13% renewable, this balance changes constantly to view it now click here. 

• Check your walls and loft are insulated

• Turn your thermostat down by 1°C – to save 10% on your heating bills

• Turn off lights and appliances that are not in use

• When you replace or buy more appliances look for the most energy efficient.

Further information at Dorset Energy Advice Centre.

Tel: 0800 975 0166 or tel: 01202 209410

2. Travel wisely

Travelling for pleasure is fun, we get to go to different places, and meet up with friends and family.

Travelling for work, may be less fun – either way here are some tips to green your travel plans.

• Share your car – 70% of car journeys carry only one person.  If you drive alone to work, you may be able to share your car, this will save you money, reduce congestion and cut carbon.

• Do you ecodirve? – Driving smoothly, avoiding excessive breaking and acceleration saves fuel, and provides a more comfortable journey for your new carshare friends.  Don’t forget to check your tyre pressure regularly as well. 

• Use public transport, try the journey planner

• Could you cycle to work, cycling 20 minutes regularly helps to keep you fit, and regular cyclists have an average fitness according to non-cyclists who are ten years younger!  So cycle to work to get a spring in your step!

Further information at Travel Dorset

3. Watch your waste

On average people in Dorset throw away or recycle around 500kg of waste per year.  The council is currently rolling out an improved kerbside recycling scheme, collecting recyclables, food and garden waste – to read all about how this works and what happens to your waste click here

You could also:

• Reduce – do you really need it, think before you buy.

• Reuse – before disposing of something, can it be reused by you or someone else, think Freecycle, charity shops

• Recycle – many recylcables are now collected by the council, or can be taken to household recycling centres

• Compost – you can compost at home, or take part in the council’s food waste collection scheme, where available

• Rubbish – this is the last option, is it really rubbish or someone else’s valuable resource.

Further information at Dorset Waste Partnership

4. Be Water Wise

An average Wessex Water customer uses 140 litres per day.  Do you have a meter, if so you can see how you compare with the average and set yourself a target.  The World Health Organisation recommends a minimum of 20 litres per person per day in order to maintain health and hygiene.  In the UK we are advised to drink 2 litres a day, but all our water is fit to drink, and a quarter goes straight down the toilet!

If you don’t have a water meter yet, Wessex Water can fit one for free. Find out if you should get one here, then see how much you can save. 

Ten tips for saving water

i. Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth – save 18 litres per day

ii. Take a short shower instead of a bath

iii. Only use your washing machine or dishwasher when its full

iv. Order your WaterSave pack – you could save £60 on bills 

v. Use a save a flush device in the toilet

vi. Don’t be a drip – fix dripping taps

vii. No spills – use a bowl to wash fruit and vegetables, then put the water on your plants.

viii. When buying new appliances – check the water efficiency

ix. Catch the rain – fit a water butt in your garden

x. In the can – water with a watering can instead of a hose

Further information at Wessex Water

5. Eat food you can trust from producers you know

With one in four lorries on the road carrying food, choosing local not only means you can know where it comes from, you will also be supporting the local economy and reducing food miles.  You can also:

i. Brush up those cookery skills! – save loads of money, have fun, impress your mates, especially soul mates!

ii. Find out and use what’s in season and buy from local producers – get more variety and often find it cheaper than in the supermarket….

iii. Cut down what ends up getting wasted by buying sensibly. Use up leftovers in great simple recipes like soups, stocks and pies

iv. Eat less meat.  If you're a carnivore, treat yourself to good quality meat but eat less.  Good quality meat is not necessarily labelled "finest", it's from animals reared in low-input systems grass-fed beef & lamb, free range pork and poultry – rather than factory farmed and imported from miles away.

In short buy local, buy direct, from producers you know and trust!

Further information at Local Food


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